Oh lord bless us! Aren’t we just clever?

Song of the Day: Breezeblocks by alt-J (∆)

I’ve sometimes (actually often) wondered why most people will continue to discuss a subject even when they are well aware that they possess limited, if any, knowledge on it.

A chance encounter with some friends at a local coffee shop is one such an example. For some odd reason or another, after discussing job prospects and word misusage, somehow 1984 by George Orwell came up. I mentioned that he might have got the timing off but his predictions weren’t that far-fetched as we are presently living in some form of an Orwellian world. I added somewhat offhandedly, and not to be taken seriously, but just as an interesting side note, that we couldn’t say as much of Aldous Huxley, as confirmed by his A Brave New World Revisited in which he explains his change of heart in a re-written preface. 

‘I wouldn’t know,’  says one of my companions, ‘as I’ve actually never read the book’.

I nodded to acknowledge the admission and recommended the book as a possible interesting read. It was to my surprise when he followed that with: ‘But can we really say that Huxley got his predictions wrong?’

A part of me was surprised and saw the futility in the discussion; however another part of me was elated: aha! Thank you sir for opening the door to your downfall! And the discussion went around in circles after that discussing such concepts as etymology, epistemology, semantics. I’m sure you get my drift. Concepts that even I’ll admit, I’m not an expert on. But it was interesting to watch the easy insertions of such words just to…

Sarcasm is a wonderful tool. One I had to learn to recognise and use appropriately during my very idiotic adolescent years when I felt the sun could not have shone any brighter on my very clever self (notice I didn’t use intelligence) when I would regal all who were kind enough to give me a listening ear. But it was the wiser, older people around me who taught me to rein myself in and literally think before I spoke.

Anywho, the expression, ‘look before you leap’ seems apt in this situation and in many situations that we encounter in life. In today’s age of instant ‘knowledge’ via such sites as Wikipedia to which one is directed after a judicious search on say Google: we’ve all become ‘experts’ on diverse unrelated subjects that most reputable scholars spent years of study on. And in our half- (and often mis-) understanding of the read material, we throw these around in our day-to-day ‘intellectual’ discussions.

The more important sociological question pertinent to my generation is: With the overload of information readily and easily available to us, are we all becoming dumber by the day? Jacks of all trades and masters of none doesn’t even quite describe us, as that expression itself implies possession of some competent knowledge albeit not enough to classify one as an expert.

Interesting food for thought, don’t you think?

Till Next Post!

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